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how to Read Oboe Sheet Music

The simple way to read oboe sheet music

How To Read Oboe Sheet Music

Learning how to read music is really a different skill from actually playing the oboe. Within our ‘Beginner’s Guide To Learning The Oboe’ collection, this particular section offers you ample info to start out practicing this amazing skill.

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What is notation?

Music is actually a language; and like every language, it has a written form. Notation offers musicians throughout the world a tool to communicate. A composer writes their piece with specific symbols, and provided you can read music, it is possible to understand it, decipher it, and ultimately play it.

Instances of very early notation have been discovered on tablets going back as far as 2000 BC. Modern’ staff notation’, the method we now use, was made by Catholic monks to standardise church music.

How To Read Oboe Sheet Music

Is Reading Music Critical?

Learning to read music will take dedication. There are no two ways about it, it’s a hard skill to master.

If you are planning to play pop/rock music, it’s not so vital that you learn how to read music. Even so, if you do, you’ll find life a lot easier down the road.

It is possible to absolutely go down this path if you choose. Just be aware that like riding a bike, reading music is really a skill you never forget – and the benefits massively outweigh the negatives.

Is Reading Music Tough?

When you learnt to read and write, did you handle them as the exact same process? Of course not. Managing your hand motions by using a pen, mastering the forms of letters, learning how letters join together are all a radically different skill from using your eyes to understand what a combination of letters spells.

Learning to read music is the same.

Playing the oboe is really a radically different skill from reading the sheet music before you. Many badly skilled teachers try and teach both of these factors together – but the truth is known much better! Master them as individual skills that overlap. Doing this you’ll have great results more quickly.

Basics Of Reading Musical Notation

The Treble Clef Staff

For oboe, staff notation is actually organised around something known as the treble staff. This contains a stave (the name for the lines) of 5 lines and 4 spaces. It is usually marked using a treble clef (the squiggly thing at the start of the line)!

Middle C lies in the space at the very bottom of the stave, on an imaginary line.

Notes can sit on a line or in a space. The vertical position (height) of the note defines the pitch. The higher up the stave, the higher the pitch. When the note needs to go higher or below the stave lines, we add mini lines for any note that is higher or lower. Those lines are known as ledger lines.

Treble Clef Staff

The notes

To avoid counting up from middle C each time, we can take advantage of memory aids to recognise the notes. The four spaces in the treble staff spell out “FACE”.


The 5 lines, base upwards, for the treble staff are E G B D and F. The easiest way to know them is usually to remember acronyms. The most well-liked is “Every Good Boy Deserves Football” – nevertheless I think you’ll be able to create a much better version!


And also to display the actual way it all appears, this is actually the whole Treble Clef staff

Treble Clef Staff

Exactly what are the length of the notes?

When reading music, all of us read from left to right. And now we understand what position on the stave makes what note, we need additional instruction from the printed symbol. We need to know how long to hold the note for.

The shape of the note shows you how much time to play it.

  • A whole note (or if you are in the UK, it’s called a Semibreve) is an empty circle and lasts four counts.
  • A half note (or if you are in the UK, it’s called a Minim) adds a stem and lasts two counts.
  • A quarter note (or if you are in the UK, it’s called a Crotchet) fills in the circle and lasts one count.
Note Length
How To Read Oboe Sheet Music

How To Read Oboe Sheet Music - Summary


You have the details, now go and practice what you’ve discovered! What’s that old saying about taking a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink…

It won’t shock you to realize that there is quite a bit more to reading music than what I’ve cited above. But we all have to begin somewhere – and when you can get to the point in which you remember all this info and find it easy, you’ll then be ready to jump in more deeply with your hunt for understanding!

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